March is observed as “National Endometriosis Awareness Month” in the United States. Supported by the Endometriosis Association, the campaign is observed with a unique mission to generate widespread awareness about a hormonal disorder that affects an estimated 200 million women worldwide. It aims to highlight the consequences of living with endometriosis. Endometriosis is a disorder that occurs when the endometrial implants (comprising tissues that form the lining of the uterus) grows outside the uterine cavity. The lining of the uterus is called the endometrium. The condition most commonly involves the ovaries, fallopian tubes, peritoneum and lymph nodes. In certain rare cases, the endometrial tissue may spread beyond the pelvic organs. Endometriosis is estimated to affect around 11 percent of women in the United States aged between 15 and 44 years. If left untreated, this condition can lead to several complications like – infertility, uterine abnormalities, and ovarian cancer. Treatment for this condition involves medications or surgery (to remove the endometriosis implants). Obstetricians – gynecologists treating patients with endometriosis must also make sure that the medical billing and coding for this condition is done correctly on the medical claims. To ensure correct clinical documentation and reimbursement of this condition, physicians choose to partner with companies that outsource medical billing services.
The 2021 national campaign is a platform for women to get news, share updates about endometriosis research, and be open about the battle that women fight everyday with this disease. It aims to assemble women, families and medical communities and generate widespread awareness about the specific causes and symptoms associated with this hormonal disease. The exact causes of this condition are not fully known. However, certain factors like – retrograde menstruation, immune system disorders, embryonic cell transformation, embryonic cell growth, fetal development, surgical scar implantation and genetics can result in this condition.
Regarded as one of the biggest causes of infertility in women, the primary symptom associated with the condition is pelvic pain (often associated with menstrual periods). The pain during the menstrual period will appear to be far worse than usual, which may increase over time. Other common symptoms of this condition include – painful periods (dysmenorrhea), excessive bleeding, pain with bowel movements/urination, and intercourse, and infertility issues. Diagnosis of endometriosis can be challenging as the symptoms resemble that of several other conditions. In fact, most women go undiagnosed and in certain cases take around 10 years to receive an accurate diagnosis. Diagnosis of this condition may involve a physical examination to evaluate the symptoms, including the location, severity and frequency of the pain. Several diagnostic tests like – pelvic exam, ultrasound, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and laparoscopy may be conducted to identify the location, extent, and size of the endometrial implants in order to determine the best treatment options.
Treatment for this condition mainly involves medications and surgery. The type of treatment recommended by an obstetrician-gynecologist will depend on the severity of signs and symptoms and whether a woman plans to become pregnant. Physicians in most cases, plan trying conservative treatment approaches during the initial stages and further opt for surgery if these treatments fail. Pain relievers such as the non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin IB, others), or naproxen sodium (Aleve) and supplemental hormone therapy may be recommended as an initial treatment option. As mentioned above, women with endometriosis will have trouble conceiving. In such cases, fertility treatment (supervised by a fertility specialist) ranging from stimulating ovaries to make more eggs to in vitro fertilization could be opted. Conservative surgery to remove the endometriosis implants while preserving your uterus and ovaries may also be performed as part of the treatment. The diagnosis tests and other treatment procedures administered by obstetricians – gynecologists must be carefully documented using the correct medical billing codes. Medical billing services provided by reputable providers ensure this so that accurate claims submission is ensured. ICD-10 codes used for an endometriosis diagnosis include –
- N80 Endometriosis
- N80.0 Endometriosis of uterus
- N80.1 Endometriosis of ovary
- N80.2 Endometriosis of fallopian tube
- N80.3 Endometriosis of pelvic peritoneum
- N80.4 Endometriosis of rectovaginal septum and vagina
- N80.5 Endometriosis of intestine
- N80.6 Endometriosis in cutaneous scar
- N80.8 Other endometriosis
- N80.9 Endometriosis, unspecified
The Endometriosis Association began the observance of “National Endometriosis Awareness Month” in the year 1993. The event was started by Mary Lou Ballweg (one among the eight women founders) who founded Endometriosis Awareness Week during The Endometriosis Association’s roundtable in Milwaukee. Those eight founders soon grew to 22, and shortly after that, the week-long observance was extended to a month-long celebration – in order to recognize the pain of those women suffering from this condition. Over the span of 28 years, the scope of the campaign widened with plenty of events – right from fundraisers to marches – being organized all through the month of March.
People throughout the country can participate in this observance in different ways. These include – talking or engaging in conversation with others about endometriosis (whether that be family, friends, or coworkers), participating in a walk or run to support the cause, attending conferences and meetings on endometriosis, volunteering or fundraising events and sharing facts, reviews and survivor stories on endometriosis through popular social media platforms like Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. People can follow updates on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram by posting the hashtag #EndometriosisAwarenessMonth to educate others about this condition.